Tess Of The D'urbervilles Thomas Hardy. Compare Angel To Alec Discussing How Each Is Used As A Vehicle By Hardy To Examine Different Aspects Of Society.

1370 words - 5 pages

Alec and Angel both represent different figures in society; they are both from a fairly respectable and high class, but they symbolise different aspects of high society. Alec is the "evil" side of society, he doesn't care for anyone else's well being, not even his own mother's, he seduces Tess not because he loved her, but because of his own need. He doesn't even apologize for it until he "reforms" when he has a "calling from God". He is described in great detail; his lips are described as "badly moulded", even though they are red and smooth. This tells us that even though his rich lifestyle can keep him looking well, his natural features aren't handsome. When Tess's innocence and goodness meets him, they do not connect at all. Alec's place in society enables him to get what he wants, but when he can't get Tess through his feigned charm, he uses force instead. When evil and innocence clash, it only produces harm.The place in which Alec lives in Trantridge is a mirror of Alec. The house, though expected to be old by Tess, is almost brand new. Alec, in a sense, is new too, at least to the name d'Urberville, because his now dead father bought the name to cover up his past. The house doesn't blend in with the surrounding area: "...a rich red colour that formed such a contrast with the evergreens of the lodge." The house is unnatural to the country side, along with its gardens and greenhouses. A greenhouse take plants that are out of season and makes them grow inside. Alec does not belong in the country side either; he is a man of industry and modern things. The only completely pure and natural piece of land near Alec's estate is the forest; "one of the few remaining woodlands of England of undoubted primeval date." But even this land is outside the boundaries of the modern estate. The only thing Alec has to boast about is his money, not family history or honour.Angel symbolises the "good" part of society. He is described as "wearing ordinary white pinner and leather leggings of a dairy farmer when milking, and his boots were clogged with the mulch of the yard; but ...beneath it was something educated, reserved, subtle, sad differing." White is the sign of purity, and his appearance, though typical of a dairy farmer, hasn't covered up his good upbringing. Even his name tells us what to expect of him; angelicness and goodness, just like an angel. After Tess sees Angel at the dairy farm, his reason for not being a parson like his father is explained in a flash back. Angel doesn't want to become a parson just because he is expected to, he has to believe in what he was preaching, and he doesn't. This is proven when he orders a book of moral philosophy that doesn't follow his father's teachings. He wants to learn more about the academic side of God, not the spiritual side. When the three girls get trapped in front of a deep puddle of water, Angel sees them as he didn't go to church that day, because he "preferred sermons in stone to sermons in churches and...

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